A graphic showing the logos of the five publishers chosen for the Listening & Sustainability Lab with a microphone in the middle and title text on top announcing them as the the first cohort for the newly formed lab.

The five publishers selected for the 2021 Listening & Sustainability Lab.

The American Press Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to helping transform news organizations for an audience-centered future, is honored to announce the inaugural cohort of publishers of color for its Listening & Sustainability Lab in partnership with the Racial Equity in Journalism Fund at Borealis Philanthropy.

Publishers and journalists from the Chicago Crusader, Cicero Independiente, The Atlanta Voice, The Haitian Times and El Tecolote will work with the lab to explore how listening and in-depth engagement with specific audience segments can lead to stronger journalism and new revenue streams. The Revenue Lab at The Texas Tribune will partner with the Listening & Sustainability Lab to offer additional advising on revenue.

The chosen group of publishers is deeply connected to a diverse variety of communities and audiences across the country and consists of legacy and upstart organizations.

“We cannot be more pleased with the makeup of this cohort of news organizations,” said Amy Kovac-Ashley, vice president and senior director of the American Press Institute. “The energy and care that these publishers bring to this work inspire us, and we look forward to learning alongside them about how to employ listening and engagement strategies toward the goal of sustainably serving communities with news and information vital to them.” 

The publishers are set to embark on the first phase of the program, collaborating with Michael Grant, founder of Get Current Studio and part of the program team, to complete qualitative research into specific audience segments they want to deepen relationships with.

“There is much to be gained by speaking directly with audiences. I hope our cohort comes away learning the value of discovery,” Grant said. “We want to develop their ability to uncover the motivations of the audiences they serve. There is a lot they can do with fresh insights, and it will be great to see how new information leads to new opportunities.”

As of December, additional funding from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation has allowed the initiative to grow its support from four publishers to five and to increase the grant awarded to each publisher for their projects and work to $11,000.  

For more information, please contact John Hernandez, project and community manager at API, at john.hernandez@pressinstitute.org, or Kevin Loker, director of program operations and partnerships, at kevin.loker@pressinstitute.org.

About the American Press Institute

The American Press Institute advances an innovative and sustainable news industry by helping publishers understand and engage audiences, grow revenue, improve public-service journalism, and succeed at organizational change. It is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization affiliated with the News Media Alliance.

About the Racial Equity in Journalism (REJ) Fund

The Racial Equity in Journalism (REJ) Fund, housed at Borealis Philanthropy, was established to strengthen the capacity and sustainability of news organizations led by and for people of color to provide relevant, accurate information and increase civic engagement. The REJ Fund provides financial and capacity-building support to grantees, while working to increase collaboration and learning, and strengthen the ecosystem of people-of-color-led civic media.

About RevLab at The Texas Tribune

RevLab is a grant-funded resource center that helps publishers expand revenue-generating and audience-building capabilities. RevLab is based within The Texas Tribune and funded in part by the Facebook Journalism Project.

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